Dessau-Roßlau can be best appreciated from the cycle paths that criss-cross the town. Located at the centre of the UNESCO Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve, it offers ideal conditions for a stress-free cycling tour.
Long-distance cycle routes converge in Dessau-Roßlau from all four points of the compass. Running east to west are the Elbe Cycle Route and the R1 European Cycle Route; the Mulde Cycle Route arrives from the south, while the Fläming Cycle Route starts here and heads northward. In the town itself, you can visit the sights by following specially signposted cycle paths.
The routes of all cycling trails are also available for download as .gpx files on this page. This way you can use the routes in the map programme of your smartphone or navigation device.
The Elbe Cycle Route
The 1,200-kilometre Elbe Cycle Route has been one of the most popular long-distance cycle routes for many years. It extends from the sources of the Elbe in the Giant Mountains of the Czech Republic to the mouth of the river on the North Sea coast near Cuxhaven.
In and around Dessau-Roßlau, the Elbe Cycle Path leads directly past numerous UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Arriving from the north-east, cyclists first arrive at Wörlitz Park in the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz. A few kilometres after the spectacular structure of the former Vockerode power station, you arrive in the riparian forests and wet meadows of the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve. Sieglitz Park is a great place for a short break. Your route then takes you past the Leiner Berg restaurant and to the next park in the Garden Kingdom, the Luisium.
After this, the route runs for a short stretch parallel to the Mulde Cycle Route. When you enter the town over Tiergarten bridge, a grand panorama opens up before you taking in the palace of Dessau (Stadtschloss), St. Mary’s Church and the town hall.
The route then takes you past the Tourist Information office and Bauhaus Museum Dessau straight to the next World Heritage Site, the Bauhaus Building and the Master’s Houses. At the Kornhaus, the cycle route joins the Elbe again and takes you through woodland towards Aken.
The R1 European Cycle Route
From Boulogne-sur-Mer in France to St Petersburg in Russia, the R1 European Cycle Route takes cyclists directly through Dessau-Roßlau.
The R1 arrives in Dessau from the west. On their way, cyclists pass the Technology Museum “Hugo Junkers”, the Bauhaus Building, the Master’s Houses and Georgium Park. The route passes right through the Middle Elbe Biosphere Reserve on its way to Vockerode. There, it branches off towards Oranienbaum via the Kapenschlösschen hunting lodge and the beaver enclosure.
The Mulde Cycle Route
The Mulde Cycle Route has two starting points: Holzhau, near the source of the Freiberger Mulde, and Muldenberg, where the Zwickauer Mulde begins its course. In Sermuth, Saxony, the two rivers become the Vereinigte Mulde, or the “united Mulde”.
Not far from Bitterfeld, the river enters Saxony-Anhalt and flows through a glaciated valley before joining the Elbe.
The cycle route along the Mulde is almost completely independent and separate from road traffic. It ends in Dessau at Jagdbrücke bridge, while the Mulde itself flows into the Elbe a couple of kilometres further on.
Worthwhile stops are Goitzsche Lake near Bitterfeld, a former open-cast lignite mine that has been transformed into an extensive nature and recreation area, and the maze in Altjessnitz.
The Fläming Cycle Route
Between the Elbe and Fläming, there extends a hilly landscape away from major roads and ideal for cycle tours. The Fläming Cycle Route between Dessau-Roßlau and Bad Belzig leads through secluded villages with fieldstone churches and tiny towns with castles and palaces.
The 94-kilometre Fläming Cycle Route can be combined with the R1 European Cycle Route for a circular tour from Dessau-Roßlau.
Prince Franz Garden Kingdom Tour
The 68-kilometre-long cycle path around Dessau connects the palaces and parks of the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz and was named after Prince Leopold III Friedrich Franz of Anhalt-Dessau (1740-1817).
The Garden Kingdom Tour takes you through the unique landscapes of the Elbe floodplain. Bordered by palaces and enchanting miniature architectural features, this is a cultural landscape of inestimable beauty.
You can join this circular cycle path anywhere, but its official start is at the junction of the Elbe Cycle Route and the Aken-Dessau road (L63).
From there, it goes to the Georgium via Grosskühnau and Dessau-Ziebigk. It then takes you via the Luisium and Sieglitz Hill past Vockerode to Wörlitz, then via Horstdorf and Kakau to Oranienbaum and back towards Dessau. Mildensee, Törten, Haideburg and Kochstedt are next on your route, after which you return to the starting point via Mosigkau and Kleinkühnau.
Bauhaus buildings cycle tour
Along a 22 kilometre-long signposted route, architecture fans can visit all the Bauhaus buildings in Dessau while getting to know all the different facets of the town.
The Bauhaus buildings cycle tour is divided into a north and a south loop, both starting at the main railway station.
The northern loop is 8.5 kilometres long and takes you to the Kornhaus, the Masters’ Houses and the Bauhaus Building. The 13.5-kilometre southern loop takes in the former Employment Office, the Houses with Balcony Access, the Konsum Building and Törten Housing Estate.
The 62-kilometre circular cycle tour through Dessau-Roßlau connects the outlying areas of the town north and south of the Elbe and at the same time takes visitors through two different kinds of landscape – the wetlands of the Elbe and the typical countryside of the Fläming region.
The route links up with other cycling and hiking trails, such as the Elbe Cycle Route, the R1 European Cycle Route, the Mulde Cycle Route, the Prince Franz Garden Kingdom Tour and the E11 European Hiking Trail. Along the way, you’ll come across the parks of the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Wörlitz – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – as well as evidence of Dessau-Roßlau’s rich industrial history.
The Luther Trail
The Luther Trail links all the sites associated with the work of the great Reformer between Worms and the Luther City of Wittenberg. Arriving from Wittenberg, hikers approach Dessau along the Elbe Cycle Path and first of all pass through Luisium park. In the centre of Dessau, St. Mary’s Church (Marienkirche) is the place from which – somewhat belatedly – the Reformation was heralded in in Anhalt-Dessau.
The nearby Town History Museum sets these events in their historical context in befitting and vivid fashion.
The trail continues through the town centre via the Georgium towards Rosslau. Along forest paths, hikers arrive at Zerbst, where Sophie Auguste Friederike von Anhalt-Zerbst lived for two years. She later became famous – as Catherine the Great of Russia.
Even if you don’t have your own bike, you can still get around on two wheels: hire one from Dessau Tourist Information.